"It sounds rather absurd. I guess Ling'er's background really is complicated. Her abilities are weird, after all. It's hard to imagine normal parents gave birth to her," Ying Huo said.
"That's right," Tianming said helplessly.
"Then what do you plan to do? Take her there?"
"It's that or death. That's not a risk I'm willing to take."
"You might die if you go in, too," Ying Huo said.
"There's at least a chance for life. This might be a huge disaster for Ling'er, but we must definitely help her through it. I will not let anyone take her away from me."
"Deal. No matter what your choice is, we'll stand with you. For such a cute girl like Ling'er, I’ll definitely kick the ass of that weird woman from the tomb no matter who she is!"
"Are you going to keep this from Ling'er?"
"Then why haven't you said anything yet?"
"I was a little confused yesterday, but I managed to sort my thoughts out. I’ll tell her about it soon. This is something that concerns us both, after all. I must respect her wishes instead of playing it tough and keeping her in the dark. That simply isn't fair."
"What a thoughtful one you are... it's so touching I'm going to fall for you! Big Brother, come hug and spoil your little Ying'er!" Ying Huo teased.
"Buzz off, weirdo!"
It was evening when Feiling returned from shopping. Joyfully, she twirled in her new clothes in front of Tianming, showing him how good she looked. The clothes sold in the Decimo Dao Palace weren't normal clothes; they were made from materials with saintly heavenly patterns and had a certain degree of defensive capabilities.
"What's wrong, Big Brother?"
"I have something to tell you."
She sat down and propped her chin on her hand, looking at him curiously as he told her what had happened that night.
"So, you're saying we have no choice but to go to the Tomb of the Ancients?" she asked. She didn't seem the least bit scared of that at all.
"Yeah. If we don't go, whether we live or die will be out of our control."
"Big Brother, since that's the case, let's just go. Relax." She came over and sat on his lap with her arms wrapped around his shoulders. "That person wanted me to return to the tomb, but didn't say anything about how I’d be treated. Perhaps they’re my family and they want me to return."
"You're too optimistic. She sounded really fierce, you know."
"She's fierce because she wanted to make sure you'd come. No worries, we're husband and wife, we're of one mind. We'll survive whatever obstacles come our way," she said excitedly.
"Ling'er, don't worry about me. I'm calm right now." He hugged her closer and whispered, "I must admit that this will be troublesome. I have no idea how strong they are. There's still some time before we enter the tomb, and we still have to overcome the trials of the Fireworks Festival Feast first. That's why we need to give it some proper thought. We should at least consult our seniors and hear what they have to say."
"Alright. I trust you, as well as our luck. We'll be fine! Not to mention, I also want to know my origins and who my parents are. It might be a fateful encounter," Feiling said with a smile. She really did seem optimistic about it, and was trying to get him to think the same so he wouldn't be so stressed.
"Do your best!" she encouraged as she gripped his hand tightly.
A moment later....
"Big Brother, that's enough touching, isn't it?" Her face was completely flushed red.
"Huh? Oh, sorry." He retracted his hand that had been rummaging inside her clothes just now.
"Aren't you embarrassed? You were even pretending to think about the tomb just now," she said, pouting.
"You said we were husband and wife. What's there to be embarrassed about?"
The next day, Tianming started formally cultivating the Invincible Sword Body along with Ying Huo. When they met the palace lord, he asked whether she could lead some sword ki out for them, and she agreed. Since that was the case, Lan Huang could also participate in the training. Yet, right before they were about to let Lan Huang assimilate the first Invincible Sword Ki, it chickened out from the pain.
While it had a thick hide, it yelled in pain the moment the sword ki entered its body. It was so loud that Tianming almost went deaf. As such, he had no choice but to give up on letting Lan Huang train it with them. Their eardrums wouldn't hold, otherwise. It could already fight well in close quarters anyway, and Meow Meow could use its abilities and poisonous fangs to fight, so Tianming left them to their devices.
"I wonder if I'll be able to assimilate a hundred strands before the Fireworks Festival Feast." It was still in question whether he would be able to survive his venture into the Tomb of the Ancients. All he knew was that, no matter the result, he would give it everything he had.
"Let's begin! Try keeping it under three strands a day. I doubt your body will hold up, otherwise. After all, a normal person can't even assimilate one a day," Weisheng Yunxi said.
"Is it that painful? Just watch me," Ying Huo said, having researched the technique beforehand. It had picked Coldfire Sword Ki as the first one it would assimilate, just like Tianming had.
"Aaaaaagh!" Ying Huo's agonized cries rang out throughout the underground compound.
"Hahahaha!" Meow Meow laughed from within the lifebound space, then went back to sleep.
After assimilating the sword ki, Ying Huo quickly went back into the lifebound space to be healed by Prime Tower. Seeing Meow Meow still sleeping soundly, it felt its anger building up.
"Have a taste of my sword!"
"Laugh at me again, I dare you."
"Chicken Bro, I was wrong! Forgive me!"
"That's more like it."
This time around, Tianming picked a Violetbolt Sword Ki. Lightning- and fire-type sword ki were the most ferocious, boasting the most damage. Even though the ones he had picked didn't have many saintly heavenly patterns, they would still do considerable damage to his body. He did it without Weisheng Yunxi's help this time, relying only on himself. The purple sword ki tore open a hole in his body and burrowed its way in.
"Ugh...." Needless to say, it felt truly unpleasant. However, the thought of his beloved made him grit his teeth and endure the pain. He didn't want to howl in pain right at the start, as it would only get progressively more painful the more strands of sword ki he took into himself, as a result of the clashing elements.
Even so, he didn't want to impose a limit of only three strands of sword ki a day. Instead, he wanted to explore his limits, since the Prime Tower would be healing the wounds he would suffer from assimilation.
After half a day passed, the man and chicken cried in pain. They started out quite quiet, but ended up making lots of noise near the end.
"Almost there," Weisheng Yunxi said with a smile. Normally, nobody would be able to take it if they were crying out so loud in pain. She was surprised they persisted despite that. In a flash, four hours had passed. This child's still going on even though he’s been tortured for so long....
It was a true sign of their dedication and willpower. Crying out from the pain was a kind of cathartic release, not something that Ying Huo or Tianming could control. They were beings of flesh and blood, so there was no way they would be able to ignore the pain of their flesh being torn asunder.
What was even more terrifying was the fact that they didn't stop, despite their harrowing cries of pain. Sometimes it sounded like their voices would give out, only for them to cry out even louder.
Weisheng Yunxi didn't know how to react. She hadn't thought that Tianming would be so stubborn. She thought that he had it easy because of his overwhelming talent.
When twilight came, Tianming finally emerged from the underground compound.
"How often did you fail?" she asked. A beginner like Tianming was sure to have a few failed attempts, as the sword ki would tear through the body and return into the sword ki pool if it wasn't correctly assimilated. The most torturous part of training Invincible Sword Body was assimilation failure.
"Quite a lot. I failed around ninety plus times, dammit!" He didn't know how he had managed to continue after all those failures. There was no way anyone could ignore the pain, unless they couldn't feel any to begin with.
"More than ninety?!" She was taken aback.
"Yes. Why am I failing so often? Am I too pathetic?"
Even though there were times when it seemed like it would work out, the sword ki would slip out of his grasp and render his efforts useless, much to his frustration.
"How... how many times did you succeed?"
"Thirteen times. Fourteen, if you include the first time when you helped. Ying Huo's even worse off. Though it boasted at the beginning and wanted to race me, it ended up failing a hundred or so times and only succeeded in assimilating nine. It wriggled back into the lifebound space before its tenth success."
Weisheng Yunxi was completely paralyzed. She couldn't find the words.
"What's wrong, Palace Lord? Did I disappoint you?" He felt like he had almost gone mad. His voice had almost given out from all the screaming. He didn't know how other people fared, but he knew he had tried his best. He hadn't felt so much pain in all his life.
"For you to absorb more than ten strands in a day.... How could that disappoint me? What were you expecting? Reaching Hundred-Demise Sword in a day?"
"I guess you have a point. Still, why did I fail so often?" Though he had succeeded thirteen times, he had suffered around a hundred attempts in total.
"That's normal. Just get used to it. However, it'll only get more painful the more strands you assimilate."
Tianming's face paled.
"No. The goal I set for myself is to endure this one more day. If I tell myself this every day, I’ll be able to go on."
"Not bad. If you can endure this hardship, you'll be far superior to most others."
"I'm not interested in comparing myself with others. I just want my family to live a good life."
Though this wish of his sounded rather unambitious, it was the sole reason that drove him to go to such lengths. He would endure no matter how painful it was.Previous Chapter Next Chapter